Thursday, September 11, 2014

Staging Tips

Since we just sold our house, I want to jot down some things I learned during the process about showing a home. We didn't necessarily fly off the market, but considering the competition and the inventory, a little over a month didn't seem very long. Some things are no brainers (clean up!), but some stuff I wouldn't have thought of until the house photographer told me to do certain things for the listing pictures. 

For instance, put your toothbrushes away. We cleared off our bathroom counters every single time we had a showing. Nothing was left out except for the soap dispenser and maybe a clean folded hand towel. That's it. People know you brush those pearly whites, but you want them to leave remembering your pretty faucets and flooring, not the Colgate crusted onto your Oral B.

Along those lines, shut the toilet lids. All of them. AND throw all towels in the laundry. There's something icky about seeing someone else's wet towel, even if it's hanging on a hook. 

Speaking of laundry, put the basket in the trunk of your car or shove them all in the wash for now. No one wants to see your dirty clothes. 

Clear out all family photos, picture frames, etc. from your walls, dressers, and bookshelves. You want people to feel like they are walking through a model home, not YOUR home. The point is to make a potential buyer picture themselves living there, not to take in your family's latest Olan Mills session. 

Put away free standing kitchen appliances. Toasters, blenders, coffee pots, and the like go somewhere else. You want your kitchen to scream "COUNTER SPACE"! Not Appliance Junkyard. Oh, and no dishes in the sink or on the counters. Blank slate is what you're going for. 

Fresh flowers and greenery. This is a DUH, but flowers on your porch and in your kitchen make a world of difference. It's also time to pay attention to your curb appeal- cut the grass. 

Have a catch-all basket in a closet for all the last minute stuff you just have to hide during the showing. I can't tell you how many times we got a call that our house would be shown in 30 minutes, or that a realtor was riding through the neighborhood and waiting outside to see our house. Of course we would have a pile of clothes, Evans' toys, random socks/shoes, junk mail, etc. not put away. Having a catch-all will make life less stressful in these moments. Toss it all in, and get out the house with some of your sanity still in place. 

And a note on the kid gear. I know it is hard to hide all evidence that a child lives in your home when you have kids. We only have one, and she had loads of stuff. Do your best. I put big toys in the garage, the rest were thrown in a living room basket and covered with a blanket, and pushed under the couch. Just try to aim for something that doesn't resemble a daycare. 

Evans loved to empty her toy basket as soon as we got back...

A note on pets. We were fortunate to have Blakely staying with my parents during this entire process. If you can, take your pets with you out of the house during the showing. Put away food and water bowls, and hide their beds. I for one think Blakely is the cutest pup ever to walk the planet, but there will be buyers that don't so much agree with you and will cringe at the site of an indoor dog. People are even more turned off by cats in my experience. Just a heads up. Put away the litter box. 
Don't leave it in the master bathroom, for instance. Buyers will leave thinking piece de resistance rather than poopy de kitty. 

There are many other things you can do to help sell your house. Cleaning, making the beds, fresh coat of neutral paint, and on and on. A good market doesn't hurt, either. 

What tips do you have on showing a house? 


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